Part 12: Episode X (Part 1): Break-in Plans Are Made
Welcome to the northern half of the main island of El Nido. Our objective, the port town of Termina, rests on the coast to the west. But, let's check out what other locales are in store for the part while venturing into this new location.
Due north is Viper Manor. This place is going to be pretty important in the near future, if you cannot guess we'll eventually break into the foreboding castle overlooking town.
Unfortunately, at the moment the gates to the place are barred and there are guards posted telling us to piss off. Oh well...
To the east of the manor is apparently a dimly lit forest. And huh...that fortress in that volcano south of it is giving me a weird sense of déjà vu... I wonder what that is all about?
This way too is inaccessible as Humongous has laid claim to the region. Maybe if we come back with some gasoline later he'll let us pass.
So off to Termina it is. You'd think a "port town" would have space for more than two boats to dock...
Upon entering town we are forced into eavesdropping on a conversation between a flower merchant and an almost definite future party member. They proceed to have a very dull chat.
"Men from the dragoons were setting up a road block. I should be able to get some more in a few days."
"Establishment that I am a polite and well spoken knight."
"Acknowledgment implying you are a good guy."
"Namedrop of previous boss fight character Karsh."
"Acknowledgment of familiarity and vague statement of orders given by a General Viper."
"Polite excusing self from conversation."
Music: Another Termina
So apparently the knight just then was Glenn. I somehow doubt that is the last we'll be seeing of him. Especially seeing as he's featured prominently in the attract trailer...
In any case, the party is slightly banged up from the previous area. I refuse to ever use consumable elements post-battle for healing because the game is very retarded about squandering them; as in wasting an entire tablet to heal 2 HP of damage and the like. So, a quick trip to the inn is in order. By just murdering everything I've seen, Serge already is rolling in about 4,000 G so 100 for a quick heal is chump change.
A quick rest and save later...
"Well, I'm a pan-dimension ghost, he's a cursed idol that demands regular blood sacrifices, and she's a virgin girl. Pph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!"
"Very funny, junior. Move along."
Kid is waiting for us just up the stairs into town. Apparently when she meant "I'll be heading to Termina" she really meant "I'm going to Termina get your ass there ASAP sheesh."
"Ahaa....... So that's it. I get it! This Sheila over here is yer sweetie, eh? I'm right, ain't I? No need to be shy! I'm not so bold as to break up lovers' tender moments. I'm understandin'... I'll wait until yer little date's over."
"You're pretty slick for such an innocent lookin' boy!"
"Well, it's not really cheating if it's the same person from another dimension."
"What are you two going on about? We were sleeping in separate beds!"
"Goin' rough all up and down yer room eh?"
"Hardly. I mean the scarecrow was in the room with us! This is absurd..."
"Me-om nail I self to rooom's wall for sleep-om. Moore comfortable-om."
"See. There was another party in the room with us nailed to the wall. Nothing happened. Get your mind out of the gutter."
"Nailed her up against yer wall, eh? Serge, you dog."
"What can I say?"
"I think you should take your job description more seriously if you know what's good for you."
And with that Kid trots off temporarily. Kid will normally just run off when Serge and Leena approach if the party doesn't take a pit stop at the no-tell motel first thing.
Termina is quite a bit larger than Arni Village was and there's a decent amount to explore. But, we might as well lace the next plot thread instead of just doing the tourist thing. Doing that is as simple as climbing another set of stairs.
I think that's against the law in public...
The janitor making unintentional masturbatory euphemisms will gush about Master Viper for a while upon speaking with him.
Another World's El Nido was apparently never invaded by Imperial Porre and Master Viper and the Acacia Dragoons are the ruling regime.
He also goes on and on about how Viper Manor is a really swanky pad and there's no way anyone could ever break into it as it's guarded by nothing but badass soldiers and only upstanding citizens of Termina are invited and filthy tourists should take a hike and so on and so forth.
So of course Kid immediately wanders up and declares our new objective is to bust into the place. Sure, why not?
"And why that Karsh bloke was tryin' to capture ya? I've got some business there as well, so I'll go along with ya."
We can once more blow off Kid here if Serge likes being a dick for no real reason. She gets slightly more annoyed this time.
"Don't ya wanna know what happened ten years ago, and what the hell's goin' on right now? Yer only clues are that Acacia Dragoon mob and their leader, that Viper bloke. Any investigation into the Dragoons has gotta start with checkin' out Viper's manor."
Refusing again will cause her to get pissed off and leave. But, there's really no reason to do so at this point since it just means not picking up a decent character and the next section making less sense. So, what the hell...
"According to grandpa here, this Viper Manor's a bloody big place, which also means it'll be easy to break into!"
"I saw the place on the world map. There a heavily guarded gate up front, and sheer cliff faces on the other three sides. With one being a straight drop into the ocean..."
"There's gotta be more than one way in. If we don't plan this right, it'll cost us our lives."
"Are you not listening to me...?"
"Oh ye of little faith. I guarantee ya there'll be at least three colorful blokes right 'round the corner that'll help get our arses in with barely a fuss."
"That sounds oddly specific."
"I'm a bloody optimist."
"It's a Tele-Porter. This is a really handy gadget that allows ya to exchange party members from afar."
"You were about to break the fourth wall, weren't you?"
"I soddin' caught myself before I did, didn't I?"
Right, so this gizmo works just as described. We now have the option to never use Poshul again.
I like to think there's an unseen narrator who is just kind of a dick mocking everyone's accents when they join our ranks.
I'd just like to point out that Leena and Kid are the exact same height but Kid is six pounds heavier. Yet, Leena is apparently an average build but Kid is considered skinny. Right...
Sorry, Lucky D. You're getting the benched for the time being. Leena still has a few minor encounters in Termina we'll get to in a bit. Besides, Serge is clearly established as a ladies' man and voodoo dolls impaled with a three foot iron nail sends the wrong vibe.
So, before doing the whole tour of Termina thing let us explore our options as far as breaking into Viper Manor goes. The first stop: the bar. It's five o'clock somewhere.
Our first possible option is getting loaded in the back of this dive. But first, there is a townsperson that will fill us in a bit on one of the apparent highlights of Viper Manor and indeed a central plot MacGuffin of Chrono Cross.
"The 'Frozen Flame' is the treasure of treasures! It's the ultimate treasure in this world! It's rumored that the notorious thieves the Radical Dreamers are also after it, but... <tangent rambling about how he's going to steal the thing yadda yadda yadda>"
Ezio from Assassin's Creed 2's cousin is chilling out at the back of the bar. Might as well see what his story is.
"Go home and be a family man!"
"That's uhh...that's all I've got..."
"You might wanna work on that..."
"Who can 'sperge about my true identity the most despite it have absolutely no impact on the narrative whatsoever either way."
"If I cannot, I shall lose, but... As there is a trick behind any mysterious magic...there is no such thing as an impregnable fortress in this world. A toast to my coming victory...!"
I get the feeling this guy's definition of happy hour begins in the AM.
"Gambling is a lot more interesting with higher stakes... What we need now is a seasoned sailor and a sturdy boat to cross the rough waters. If you can find one, leave the rest to me. I will guide you to Viper Manor."
"That sounds a lot like the nutter sailing the ship is doing all the work..."
"Bah! A professional never reveals his secrets!"
<eye roll and wanking motion>
So our first potential option is the magician by boat. Let's not get too hasty deciding. We've got two more choices we ought to explore before looking where sailors hang out with maybe-Magus.
West of the main square is the staging area for the fair that is being held in Termina. There are a few demi-human (the catch all name for sentient humanoid creatures in Chrono Cross) workers milling about and a supervisor throwing out a bit of casual racism about those damn lazy
Serge and company can board the only boat docked in the harbor to discover the second potential path to infiltrate Castlevania.
Apparently popular local rock star Nikki is AWOL and the band leading the rock concert during the festival cannot rehearse with him absent. I wonder what happened to him.
Ah. A drug fueled bender. You'd think lead vocalists in a band would be more responsible around alcohol and narcotics.
"No, it's no use!!! I was able to track him up 'til he went into Shadow Forest, but there were knights guarding the entrance of the forest and I couldn't get in."
"Wouldn't it stand to reason he wouldn't be able to get in either?"
"Besides, I really didn't want to be in that creepy forest on my own."
"'specially not the way you're dressed."
"Like you are one to talk..."
"Oi, I ain't the one makin' a beeline to the nearest cheap bed the first thing I got in town with a boy and a stripper pole wit' legs."
"FOR THE LAST TIME I DIDN'T SL-"
"Sweetie, calm down. You're interrupting the lady. Stop bein' rude."
"So he definitely went into Shadow Forest... That is SHADOW. FOREST. Where there is an ENTRANCE to VIPER MANOR that someone could SNEAK INTO VIPER MANOR if they wanted to BREAK INTO THE PLACE?"
"I'll lure the knights away from the entrance, then you can go into the forest and find Nikki!"
So our second option is to hope the least dressed woman we've met thus far can give Lord Humongous and his cronies enough feeling in their pants to lure them away so we can track down a rock star that snorted one too many lines of coke and wandered into the woods... Welp, there's one more option on the other side of town we ought to check out before going with anything rash just yet.
Heading to the eastern half of Termina...
In case you were wondering what this wayward Nikki fellow looked like, he's the guy on the banner at the bottom of the screen. Umm...yeah... Before we venture forth, let's take a quick pit stop and see what the hell is going on with those demonic eyes in that tent.
Meet the fortune teller. She's a pretty interesting character as she can read the fortune of every last character in the game and has a different little monologue for everybody. Might as well give in to a little bit of fluff. Let's see what Leena's fortune is.
"My sympathy, darlin'. Seems ole' Serge was a one-nighter. Hehe."
"I am no longer even going to justify anything you say with a response."
Let's see Serge's fortune...
"You're not dead or anything are you? Has anybody called you back from the great beyond? You just might be the key to the destruction of this entire planet. I can't say for sure, but fate seems to have a great task for you. Be careful now, boy!"
"Hey, Serge, that's nothin' but rubbish. Let's hurry up and get movin'."
"Hmm. You there!"
"Be mindful not to bring about your own end, my dear. A dream lies in wait, reaching out to engulf you."
"Sorry, mum. I don't believe in fortune-tellin' at all. I make way for me own future by myself."
"Lassie, you should listen to your elder's advice."
"You might wanna avoid visiting forts decorated with dragon statues and flying towers..."
"The bloody hell is that mess supposed to mean?"
"You're a weird one, mate. I see why Red jumped yer bones. It's always the quiet country bumpkins that're into the freaks."
The northeastern part of town houses a blacksmith where our third potential option is camped out.
But first, let's check out the crafting system of Chrono Cross.
You cannot simply purchase new weapons and armor in Chrono Cross. Materials must be gathered out in the field (by defeating enemies and finding them hidden in chests) or by disassembling outdated or spare equipment.
The key component in forging weapons (and thus the rarest) are metals. At this point in the game Copper is the best material we'll come across with Iron being the next step (and bone being the weakest and default equipment.) Each character in Chrono Cross can only use one type of weapon. Though, there are multiple characters that use the same set.
In our current party Serge and Kid are both uniquely equipped characters (Swallow and Dagger respectively.) Leena uses kitchen utensils and that's a fairly rare trait (I think there's only one or two other characters who uses that and we saw most of 'em during the prologue.) Poshul and Lucky Dan both use "gloves". Gloves are the catch all equipment for non-standard melee characters. As such, there's about a dozen plus glove users in the game and material and spares of those weapons will be tossed out in droves.
Anyway, it's always a good idea to have Serge be given priority with new equipment as he's the only guaranteed party member. The copper swallow gives him a slight boost to attack and hit %.
Serge can go bug the resident
"How many years have ye been me wife!?"
"What's a big ape like ye doin', worryin' 'bout such trivial stuff!? Don't ye be complainin' up a storm over just one er two customers coming to talk to ye!!!"
"There be not just one or two, but three! Arrch, ye'll never ken the delicate heart o' a craftsman like yours truly. Ah dinnae expect a layman like ye to ken what ah'm sayin', but... Everytime the hammer strikes, a wee bit o' mah soul goes with it. Ah guess what ah'm sayin' is, thy soul is what make ye sword."
"Bloody hell... Anyone of you mob catch 'hat that bloke was yappin' 'bout?"
"Is that your dad or something?"
"Naw. That ain't my pops. Yer free to saddle up with 'em, Red. I bet the inn'll give ya a discount rate."
In the back room of the smithy the party can locate the third and final flamboyantly dressed option for their new quest.
"The rouge ambition hidden beneath its beauty... Ahh, these words fit moi perfectly... Oh, pardon me monsieur. Moi forgot to introduce myself..."
"I am on my way to see this General Viper soon. From what I hear, there is a vacancy among the 4 Devas of the Acacia Dragoons. Such a position is perfect for a splendid swordsman as moi... One graceful flash of mon sword will surely have them saluting moi as the guest of honor..."
"Lemme guess...there's a catch...? That you'll need help with...?"
"Without it, I will certainly be turned away at the gate. Sacré bleu! What am I to do?"
Apparently Monsieur Frenchman never thought to look in the backyard as a kid is parading about with it literally ten feet away.
"I know someone who's lookin' for that..."
"Well... I'd be a thief if I didn't return lost items... And I want to be a hero, not a thief! OK, here you go!"
Well, kid. Looks like you're guaranteed to be a gullible sucker if someone can just wander up and go "dude...I know someone who wanted that..." and you hand it right off without a second thought.
Returning to Pierre...
"Merci, merci, thank you!!! Ahh la lah, what a darling you are! Now I can finally head to Viper Manor! I insist you take moi when you call at the gates of the Manor. Alone, of course, moi would have no problems, but you could also be useful... After all, thorns like you are necessary to add charm to a rose..."
And so our third and final option for entering the forbidden Viper Manor is via the front gate alongside a Frenchman who is almost definitely full of shit. These...really aren't the best three options we could hope for...are they...? But, you've got to work with what you have, no?
Please use spoiler tags in regards to the immediate effects of the decision. Discussing gameplay traits is cool.
"So, mate...which one of these wankers are we rollin' with to the dragoon mob's hideout?"
A.) Go with Guile. - "Let's take a raft behind the place and climb the sheer cliffs in... Trust me...I have the power of ILLUSION!"
B.) Go after Nikki . - "So, I'll like shake my tits at the guards and you like slip in the monster filled woods and umm...like find my boyfriend and stuff 'kay? I think there's like a back door into the manor...maybe? I like dunno."
C.) Go with Pierre. - "Zes will be a snap to just waltz in ze front door. Trust mon, monsieur, I am ze hero!"
Well, what is it going to be...?
Guile Official Art - The most fabulous of all Alliance Approved Magicians.
Nikki Official Art - Voiced by Travis Touchdown doing a Dracula impression.
Pierre Official Art - French with a capital baguette. Wait, no...
Glenn was the real name of amphibian swordsman of Ye Olde Middle Ages -- Frog. The Glenn of Chrono Cross is just named after him. No relation otherwise.
- Early in Chrono Cross' development Guile was meant to be Magus from Chrono Trigger. However, that was dropped before the final release of the game and as it stands he's just a really powerful Black Innate mage. However, Chrono Trigger DS features a new ending controversially tying into Chrono Cross in which Magus is retconned into actually being Magus after all (from another timeline/dimension...with a mind wipe...) Maybe... It's best not to over analyze it since as far as Chrono Cross is concerned he is either a mind-wiped Magus that has absolutely no barring on the overall plot or he is just some random magician that has equally little to do with the plot.
Guile's Japanese name is Alf. This is a reference to Alfador, Janus' (a young Magus from the Dark Ages) cat. Said cat somehow survived Lavos blowing the Kingdom of Zeal to hell and spent its remaining days chilling out in what was left of the planet below.
- Nikki's Japanese name was Slash as a reference to the Slash of Guns N' Roses. Of course, the English translation of Chrono Trigger already had a completely different character renamed to Slash for the same reference leading to his renaming in the English version of Chrono Cross...
The Hero Medal originally appeared in Chrono Trigger and was wielded by a child in the Middle Ages, Tata. It turned out he just found the thing out in the wilderness and was about as heroic as the shit I took this morning. It remains to be seen if Pierre has a similar story...